Friday, June 11, 2004
The Toyota Echo Hatchback -- not as small as it appears; 8 or 10 banana boxes of pocket books fit quite nicely behind driver and passenger with the back seats folded down
The Japanese Garden, Portland, Oregon -- might be going for a walk in the rain here tomorrow
Kelly Wood, brief biographical summary and images from the Catriona Jeffries Gallery website
Kem Nunn's Tijuana Straits -- a new novel, after 7-odd years of silence.

"The woman appeared with the first light, struggling across the dunes, a figure from the Revelation. Fahey saw her from the beach. There was a pack of feral dogs loose in the valley and Fahey had been hunting them for the better part of three days, without success. To complicate matters, he'd attempted to work behind a little crystal meth and it had left him in a bad place. He supposed that buying in the parking lot of the Palm Avenue 7-Eleven from a kid with a head shaped like a peanut and a hoop through his nose had not been the best of ideas. He watched as the figure crested a dune then disappeared from sight, still too distant to be properly identified as a woman. From the beach she appeared as little more than a hole in the dawn, a spidery black cutout in the faint yellow light just now beginning to seep from the summit of Cerro Colorado on the Mexican side of the fence that cut the valley into halves, and Fahey took her for one more clueless pilgrim stumbling toward the river that would most likely mark the end of the road. She might weep in bewilderment upon its banks or drown in its toxic waters. In either case there was little he could do, for he'd accepted as his charge the protection of certain migratory birds, most notably the western snowy plover and light-footed clapper rail, and within this jurisdiction the ubiquitous pilgrim was hardly a concern. Still, on the morning in question, Fahey found his obduracy mitigated by a kind of relief. It was, he believed, helpful to share the dawn with someone whose prospects were at least as fucked up as his own."
Thursday, June 10, 2004
Not Quite a Business Model

Shamelessly cut-and-pasted off an Amazon discussion board:

In brief:

A seller lists a book for $.01

Amazon collects $3.50 from the buyer and gives $2.27 ($.01 + $2.26 shipping allowance) to the seller.

The seller is a ProMerchant, so doesn't pay the $.99 fee.

The 15% fee on 1 cent is zero.

The seller pays $1.42 or $1.84 in postage for a 1 or 2 pound package (or less, if it is very light weight and can go First Class).

The seller cost for the book is zero, because he got it for free somehow.

The seller used scrounged packing materials, so those cost nothing, too.

The seller ends-up with $.84 or $.42 profit (or more if Expetided or International is involved).

The seller is happy with his "profit".

Amazon ends up with $1.23 from the shipping.

Amazon is even happier than the seller.

128 Monroe Street, New York City -- former Jack Shadbolt residence! (courtesy note in J's handwriting in flyleaf found in portfolio of Henry Moore drawings)
Pricing a long o/p Greg Curnoe NGC catalog.

"The studio is full of things which interest him: things which he has found or bought, which have been given to him or which he has made."

For instance:

"Pile of objects on work-table and beer cartons to the right of the west door of the studio."
Review of David Pirrie's mountain paintings, fresh off the Straight website:

David Pirrie - Subduction Zone
By Christopher Brayshaw

At the Verge Gallery (152 East 8th Avenue) until June 26

A friend saw David Pirrie's paintings in the artist's Strathcona studio last year and tried describing them to me. Pirrie was a mountaineer, like me, and while the pictures of Coast Range peaks he'd climbed showed his firsthand knowledge of each summit, they weren't slavish photo-realistic re-creations. Instead, the pieces owed as much to computer-aided topographic mapping and 3-D rendering software as they did to the summits themselves. "I think you'd really like them," said my friend. Having finally seen them, I do.

Each of Pirrie's paintings scissors a Coast Range summit out of geographical context, placing it against a monochrome backdrop. The jagged peaks' rocky escarpments, alluvial fans, and glacial tongues are rendered with what initially seems to be photographic precision, but which, on closer inspection, is an abstract compression of space, a pushing and pulling of the eye through the scene.

Pirrie's paintings are conceptually up-to-date. They seem more informed by computerized architectural rendering programs or stereographic air photography than by the mountain paintings of artists like Ferdinand Hoedler or Lawren Harris. Pirrie accomplishes this break from historical mountain painting by using very small, lightly flickering brush strokes that drain expressivity out of the pictures, and also by setting the mountains off against geometrical patterns that shift the landscape forms in space, so that they seem to spin in place, like a computer-generated 3-D modelling program's rendition of a landscape.

The artworks' palate is also restrained: mostly blues, greys, browns, and greens; the monochrome backgrounds are greys and beiges, the colours of an overcast autumn sky. The overall effect is of topographic accuracy but of a peculiar, hallucinatory kind. The landforms seem compressed, as if squeezed together by powerful geological or historical forces.

Pirrie has painted other subjects, including car crashes and grotesquely twisted cartoon bodies, but none of these subjects strikes me as being as satisfying as his mountains. They seem overcalculated, designed to please the contemporary art world with familiar subjects and themes. The mountain paintings are informed by, but stand apart from, that world, reporting back on things the art scene couldn't care less about: a lovely knife-edge ridge on Mount Sloan; the steep and scary icefalls that scar Mount Garibaldi's flanks. Pirrie's mountain paintings maintain a respectful distance from the crowd, and this cool, slightly reserved quality is their greatest strength.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004
Dream: walking out to the highway in Omaha, across a sun-baked, empty concrete bridge, the river below the washed-out color of denim, like the sky. Little eddies in the water the only sign of movement. Insubstantial green trees. Unspecifiability of the geography: half west Richmond, half Omaha, with a memory of crossing the Mississippi twice last year thrown in for good measure. It was baking hot but I felt strangely calm, as if the half-sensed, but not yet seen car awaiting me on the far side was something I'd been waiting for my whole life.
900 degrees on the deep blue and green West Coast. Last night's gorgeous mackerel sky has given way to a solid blue roof, and that warm smell of wet salt from English Bay that reaches up and unfolds you on certain days like these when the temperature is right, letteing you know you really do live beside the water.

Off momentarily to Surrey, to those few last bus stops that have somehow escaped Sylvia's attention.
(From) Leslie Scalapino's On the Comic Book, conceptual lightyears from yesterday's Fury
Monday, June 07, 2004
Squarehead Redux -- skyblue stack from the Tate
Hey Bernadette!

bernadette is baptised
bernadette is being recognized for her years of service to the university and the alumni association
bernadette is a profound source of inspiration and of mystery surrounding the ways of the lord
bernadette is a determined capable and responsible woman
bernadette is quite chilling
bernadette is difficult to pin down
bernadette is most famous for a series of apparitions in which she claimed to have seen a young lady appearing to her
bernadette is either real or she's imagined

Old Squarehead -- Donald Judd, not too much of a positivist to forget beauty.
Language falls from the air -- Rodney Graham "production still" stuck in my head late tonight
The Fury. Can't really believe I'm looking this up. Proof positive that socially maladjusted 14 year old boys don't change dramatically from decade to decade.
Sunday, June 06, 2004
Acronym guide, long-promised:

KSW = Kootenay School of Writing. Long standing love/hate relationship with these guys. Props to Peter Culley, Dan Farrell, Deanna Ferguson, Charles Watts, Michael Barnholden. Less time for the Office of Soft Architecture's dreary excavations of civic history.
Subduction Zone -- mountain paintings by Vancouver's David Pirrie, up right now at the Verge Gallery, just across Main Street from the bookstore. "I think you'd really like these," said Sylvia when she saw them last year in Pirrie's Strathcona studio, and now, having finally laid eyes on them, I'm glad to say I do. Photorealistic at first glance, not at all upon closer inspection, heavily indebted to 3D modelling and stereographic air photography. Contemporary painting in the term's best sense, and far better than the mannered and none-too-successful figurative paintings also up as part of Pirrie's web portfolio.

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